By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA: The British High Commission in Abuja has announced a fifth return flight from Nigeria and the second flight from Abuja to London for British nationals stranded in Nigeria over coronavirus.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing said the next flight will depart on Tuesday 28 April from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja at 15:35 today.
A further two flights will depart from Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos on Friday 1 and Tuesday 5 May. Laing said all flights are bound for London Heathrow Terminal 5.
She said the British High Commission team will be on hand at both venues ready to support British nationals.
Catriona Laing, will join the facilitation team at Abuja Airport to support British nationals returning to the UK. The Deputy British High Commissioner, Harriet Thompson, will join colleagues to support passengers in Lagos.
She aded that “Further details about the availability of future flights will be on our FCO Travel advice pages for Nigeria: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/nigeria/return-to-the-uk
“The cost of the flights is £491 from Abuja and £504 from Lagos. To be eligible to book these flights, you must be normally resident in the UK. British nationals (and their immediate dependants) normally resident in the UK are being prioritised for these flights. Your eligibility, including your UK address, will be checked before your tickets are issued. Further details about eligibility will be on our FCO Travel advice pages for Nigeria: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/nigeria/return-to-the-uk,” she said.
She explained that those who are still interested in returning but haven’t sent their expression of interest should do so to [email protected]
“As was the case with the first four flights, we remain are very grateful for the all the support we are getting from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Aviation, the FCT and Lagos State authorities who have all been incredibly helpful and accommodating throughout this process. The strong cooperation we have had from our Nigerian partners continues to demonstrate very tangibly the strong bonds between our two countries.”
“We are working to secure more flights where there is the demand,” she said.
Laing said “I am again here at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport today to see off British visitors who were stranded here when the airports closed. I am delighted to be able to wave-off more flights from Nigeria returning stranded British nationals back to the UK. I’m very grateful to all the thousands of British travellers who have contacted us over the last few days for their patience and support to help us get to this moment.”
“My team in the British High Commission in Abuja and the Deputy High Commission in Lagos have been working around the clock to secure these flights. I am delighted to see so many more people excited to return home to their families and friends.”
“Ahead of the next two flights we urge people to continue to make reservations on our booking portal, which can be found on our FCO Nigeria travel advice Return to the UK page. We have the capacity to organise more flights depending on the demand. If you are a British traveller on a short-term visit to Nigeria and need to get back home to your usual place of residence in the UK then I urge you to register for a ticket via the links on our travel advice pages as soon as possible.”
“Talking to the people here today, many have been worried about their own health or anxious about relatives in the UK. Some have been struggling to keep paying hotel bills or have been running out of essential medication. It’s clear that getting these people back home, back to their loved ones, is making an enormous difference.”
“Of course, being Brits, I’ve been struck by the good humour and “keep calm and carry on” attitude of everyone here. Some people have had a tough time while waiting for these flights, but they are here today laughing and joking. That’s the British spirit I know and love.”
“And or course many of the regular travellers between the UK and Nigeria share British and Nigerian heritage – which is really at the heart of the close relationship between our two countries. So as well as the British stiff upper lip being on full display, I’ve also seen plenty of Nigerian swagger – including some stunning Ankara dresses.”
“I want to finish with a big thank you to everyone at the airport, all the staff and the amazing British Airways team, and finally my own team who I am immensely proud of. They have worked tirelessly to make this possible and continue to work to make this possible with one mission-to get British travellers back to your loved ones,” she said.